Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur.”
–David Cummings, Co-Founder, Pardot
Creating the Ideal Corporate Culture starts with management and includes all employees. The ideal culture is one where there is an understanding and application of three key factors that help create a culture: the talents, personality and purposes that is the driving force which unites the entire team, and helps identify how to brand an organization.
The Ideal Corporate Culture reflects how an organization wants to be perceived by clients and employees. It is vital to knowing how to create a business environment where everyone wins. Organizations that have aligned these three factors have productive employees, who are truly enthusiastic, committed and successful in their work.
These factors MUST be aligned from the corporate level, to the division level, to the employee level. It is essential to create Cultural Guidelines and policies built on the foundation of the three KEY factors. This results in employees that stay on the job, thus minimizing employee turnover.
I remember the excitement I felt when I started my career as an educator. I was hired by the elementary school where I really wanted to teach. The culture of the school aligned with my values and importances. It was a laboratory school for the college I attended and I was excited about the possibilities of creating innovative and better ways to teach. Other schools I visited had no attraction for me they were bland, boring, with little innovative and creative energy.
As new principals came to the school, the culture drifted from a high energy, creative and innovative environment to a stultified by the book organization that was dedicated to maintaining the status quo. It was not my ideal culture
The start of the workday was 9:00 am and while 8:50 was the time that most people started to roll in I had been there since 7:30 am. No one told me that I had to be there at that time, but I loved my job. I would often stay past the ending time of 6:00 pm, and if I had to take a call on the weekend, I didn’t mind that either. I was fulfilled.
I had a job that allowed me to engage with people every day. My input was not only asked for but encouraged and appreciated. I worked with a group of people that liked each other and enjoyed the camaraderie and teamwork. We actually thrived on it. Company production was high and staff was happy. It really didn’t feel like work and I was happy to be a part of this wonderful organization. It was this way with executives, management and staff.
This lasted for many years. At some point new management was brought in, and in a short period of time that changed. The energy was no longer there. Staff stopped giving input not sure of the response they would receive. I observed this and experienced it firsthand.
Staff were no longer smiling all the time but checking their clocks to see when the workday would be over. I started coming in closer to the 9:00 am time like everyone else. I woke up one day and realized that I no longer was excited to go to work. I still loved the work that I did, but something had changed. I realized that the company culture that I had enjoyed for such a long time had changed. Like a relationship gone bad I had to wonder how did we get here. Once I understood that the culture had changed and it wasn’t going back, I realized that this was no longer the place for me. The right company culture will drive your organization towards success or failure.
A culture can be defined as the attitudes and behavior characteristics of a particular group or organization.
A brand is a particular identity or image to position your organization in the minds of potential clients, customers and employees.
HR and Corporate Culture
The HR division is really dependent on having a clear understanding of the corporate culture the founders and executives of an organization envision. Knowing the basics of creating or maintaining their Ideal Corporate Culture (one of determiners of the organization’s brand), hiring actions and employee happiness and fulfillment become precision acts of certainty.
The Foundation of Creating a Corporate Culture
Any culture can be defined by the alignment of three key factors: Talents, Personality and Basic Purpose. When these three factors are in alignment it results in more productive team members, and very satisfied customers.
A well-defined corporate culture helps determine what type of position a current or prospective employee is best suited for. The alignment of these factors typically results in increased productivity and reduced employee turnover.
Wal-Mart and Southwest Airlines
Wal-Mart and Southwest Airlines have very well defined and understood cultures envisioned by their founders.
Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton’s concern and respect for staff from the foundation of the company created an environment of trust. Walton met staff, calling them by their first name and encouraged change to maintain the competitive edge. To this day, staff think about “how Sam would have done it”.
His 10-foot rule, when within 10 feet of customer, look him in the eye, greet him and ask may I help you, helps to identify the culture he wanted to create in his organization.
Southwest Airlines relaxed culture can be traced back to unconventional CEO Herb Kelleher, who encouraged informality and wants staff to have fun at their jobs. Employees are valued, with Kelleher acknowledging births, marriages and deaths by notes and cards. Staff are encouraged to pitch in and help out, especially at check-in, giving Southwest turnaround times less than half the industry average.
Your Purpose Statement
A major objective of any culture is to come up with a clearly stated, impelling purpose statement that is vital to an organization’s success. It is not just a statement to hang on a wall. A company’s purpose statement is a constant reminder to its employees and customers of why the company exists and what the founders envisioned to breathe life into their dreams. Losing sight of its Purpose Statement is a major step on the slippery slope to failure.
Apple Computers has a very compelling and impelling purpose statement: To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance mankind. Innovators who want to help make a difference can thrive in that culture.
How well defined is your corporate culture? How impelling is your company’s vision or purpose statement?
Diana George, President, By George HR Solutions www.bygeorgehr.com
Bernard Percy – President, Career Solutions, inc. www.careersolutions.biz